Kelly’s tribute to late father wins over judges
Gerry Kelly is the Metropolitan Art Centre’s (MAC) MLA art competition’s north Belfast constituency winner.
He won in the constituency with his poem “Billy” and south Antrim MLA Danny Kinihan was overall winner with his work ‘A homage to Basil Blackshaw’ which also won Best Painting.
Gerry Kelly’s poem was about his father, and was considered poignant by the judges.
Caral Ni Chuilin — the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure minister entered the competition with her photograph of two swans forming the shape of a heart but was beaten by Gerry Kelly in the constituency — which begs the question — how could the DCAL minister be beaten in the competition.
Thirty six MLAs – one third of those elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly – entered the competition with the forty-four entries going on display today and for the next week at Parliament Buildings. The competition, which is the first of its kind to take place in the UK or Ireland, was launched before the election and is now set to take place at the beginning of each Assembly term from now on.
MAC Chief Executive Anne McReynolds said: “We knew when we launched the competition that there was a hidden Heaney or a modest Monet and we’re really pleased with the results and today’s exhibition.
“This is a fun event with a serious message. Art belongs to the entire community and when The MAC is open it will put Belfast and Northern Ireland on the global arts stage.
“By entering this competition, the MLAs have shown by example that all of us can enjoy the arts and celebrate what The MAC has to offer.
“Our panel of judges, including Wendy Austin, Eamonn Mallie and Neil Shawcross were impressed with the high standard of work across the board. And who knows, the work of some of our winners could be hanging in Parliament Buildings for many years to come,” she added.